Today’s businesses use ad hoc reporting tools to “fill in the gaps” in terms of precise and customized business reporting, and to know more about what’s happening with any given business operation.
In a sense, ad hoc reporting involves customized, small-target, single-use reports. For contrast, think of the regular scheduled production reports or other business records that contain large volumes of data and cover an entire business activity.
Ad hoc reporting refers to single reports that are easily generated by a user, to answer a particular question, in a way that’s not broad or comprehensive. They’re also done on the fly, which is why they’re referred to as ‘ad hoc’ reporting.
Why do businesses need ad hoc reporting? Business leaders may use ad hoc reports for a number of reasons. Suppose, for example, that someone who is looking at sales wants to see specific numbers for a certain local neighborhood. Maybe a national report has already been run, but the numbers are hidden deep within it. Or, this regularly scheduled report isn’t detailed enough. In this case, the person runs a particular ad hoc report asking for just that small, detailed set of data.
Companies may use ad hoc reporting to get around some of the learning curves involved in the generation and use of broader reports. Again, they may use ad hoc reporting to get actionable insight on specific questions around sales, production, supply chains or anything else that they can’t get from generic, periodic reports. Ad hoc reporting is a particular tool that complements other types of reports within an ERP reporting system.
Another way to think about this is that business leaders don’t always shave time to wait for regularly scheduled reports, or dig through them looking for just one particular thing. That’s part of the role that ad hoc reporting tools now play – they allow end users to do something more quickly, get intelligence in a more straightforward way, and act outside of a generated report schedule.
Best Ad Hoc Reporting Tools
Here are some popular ad hoc reporting tools that businesses can use for the purpose of getting this kind of versatile, customized search result.
Domo’s reporting system offers ad hoc reporting capabilities. Within the general platform of business dashboards, Domo helps pull particular results out of a sea of data with various charts and views, while also helping business leaders, marketers or others to see the big picture.
JReports’ ad hoc reporting tools help users to build new reports and modify existing reports without a lot of technical know-how. Using a guiding wizard and an intuitive interface, JReports allows end-users to carefully put together the queries that they want for the data results may need, with a convenient layout and a lot of transparency on the page.
As the workstation version of popular Tableau ERP software platforms, Tableau Desktop offers ad hoc scenario analysis to help businesses understand risk and reward. Tableau provides webinars to help end-users understand how these systems work, for example, how to aggregate an ad hoc report from different data sources, how to read these kinds of on-the-fly reports, and how to integrate them with a broader strategy for business use.
A big name in ERP, SAP also provides ad hoc reporting features in its report software — for example, ad hoc reporting and financial management tools help users to precise results, using indicators such as “maximum data records.”
Other tools help to expand or contract the background for particular report queries.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft’s Power BI also provides ad hoc computing functionality. Through a diverse set of reporting tools, businesses can glean the data that they want from a diverse background. Microsoft offers community forums and other resources to help school users in the ins and outs of ad hoc reporting with this top-branded platform.
Oracle also offers ad hoc reporting with its Hyperion business intelligence platform. A detailed guide available online goes over tools, features and more, for example, how to connect to a data source manager, how to examine views, and the nuts and bolts of doing a particular ad hoc analysis, along with how-to’s on using command tools.